Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Solar Global Warming


I've had some communication with Dr. Tim Patterson of Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Dr. Patterson is among a growing number of scientists from various fields who have a minority view about global warming: climate change is ongoing and primarily driven by solar activity and some apparent increases in temperature can be linked directly to urbanization.

Part of his argument with those who claim atmospheric carbon dioxide is driving climate change (i.e. global warming) is that the geological record does not support that contention. Carbon dioxide is about 2-3% of the so-called "greenhouse" gases in our atmosphere. Water vapor comprises pretty much the rest of this greenhouse gas. Any increase in carbon dioxide will have a minuscule impact on overall climate and, indeed, over millions of years the concentration of carbon dioxide has been significantly higher... even when global temperatures were colder... during ice ages. Dr. Patterson is not arguing that global warming isn't happening, just that popular wisdom has the wrong drivers of this phenomenon.

I have had online conversations with some, including one person who claimed that Dr. Patterson and anyone like him were "mouthpieces of the coal industry." Actually, Dr. Patterson is far removed from the coal industry. Most of his research is geological and paleontological in nature. Although not the primary focus of his work, by using sedimentary deposits from the ocean floor, he provides a wonderful history of earth's biology directly related to climate changes in some of his work.


My research program is presently concentrated on the use of foraminifera to identify: neotectonic and paleo sea levels; paleoceanographic phenomena on the coastal regions of Canada; strategic significance of natural variability in NE Pacific fish populations; the further development of arcellacea as a new class of paleolimnological indicators; and whether the methods of complex systems are applicable in the study of evolutionary phenomena.

For those who fear global warming caused by increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide, I suggest that you plow your way through just two of Dr. Patterson's publications in Adobe format: Late Holocene sedimentary response to solar and cosmic ray activity influenced climate variability in the NE Pacific and Application of Wavelet and Regression Analysis in Assessing Temporal and Geographic Climate Variability: Eastern Ontario, Canada as a Case Study.

Of course, the titles alone may discourage some of you so I will provide summary extracts that may bring out the important points:
Marine-laminated sediments along the NE Pacific coast (Effingham inlet, Vancouver Island) provide an archive of climate variability at annual to millennial scales. A 7.75-m portion of piston core TUL99B-03 was deposited during a ~3045-year interval [~1440–4485 years before present (yBP)] under primarily anoxic conditions. Darker clay laminae were deposited under higher precipitation conditions in winter, and diatom-dominated laminae were laid down when marine productivity was higher in the spring through autumn.

Wavelet transform and other time-series analysis methods were applied to sediment color (i.e. gray-scale values) line-scans obtained from X-ray images and compared with global records of cosmogenic nuclides 14C and 10Be, as well as the Ice Drift Index (hematite-stained grains) record to detect cycles, trends, and nonstationarities in the climate and sedimentary pattern. Our results show that the marine sedimentary record in the NE Pacific responded to abrupt changes and long-term variability in climate that can be linked to external forcing (e.g., solar and cosmic irradiance). Specifically, a strong cooling in the NE Pacific at ~3550F160 yBP can be correlated to a weakening of high-frequency (50–150 years) pulses in sun activity at the Gleissberg cycle band, similar to what occurred at the onset of the Little Ice Age at ~1630 AD.

Three intervals of unusually low sun activity at ~2350, 2750, and ~3350 yBP are characterized by thick, clay-rich annual sedimentation that we interpret as representative of unusually wet conditions. These intervals of higher precipitation conditions may have been related to a regional intensification of the Aleutian Low (AL) caused by an eastward migration of the Center of Action (COA) of the AL, which occurs during intervals of solar minima. Dryer conditions in the region occur when the COA of AL migrates westward and the COA of the North Pacific High (NPH) migrates northward during intervals of solar maxima. A cyclicity of 50–85, 33–36, and 22–29 years in the sediment color record, lamination thickness, and 14C cosmogenic nuclide, characterized the relatively warm interval from 3550 to 4485 yBP. This record is similar to that of present-day low- and highfrequency variants of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and Aleutian Low.

2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
as well as...
Our research results indicate that a significant portion of the long-term temperature record in the annual and multidecadal spectrum in urban Ottawa is a result of episodic urbanization (i.e., heat island effects). Analysis of normalized monthly temperature records from three stations in eastern Canada indicates that there was: (a) no significant temperature increase outside the urban Ottawa area during the last century, and (b) most of the interannual variability in the urban and rural areas could be related to non-periodic natural fluctuations.
Also see this.

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There is always an easy solution to every human problem—neat, plausible, and wrong.
Henry Louis Mencken (1880–1956)
“The Divine Afflatus,” A Mencken Chrestomathy, chapter 25, p. 443 (1949)
... and one could add "not all human problems really are."
It was beautiful and simple, as truly great swindles are.
- O. Henry
... The Government is on course for an embarrassing showdown with the European Union, business groups and environmental charities after refusing to guarantee that billions of pounds of revenue it stands to earn from carbon-permit trading will be spent on combating climate change.
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Tracking Interest Rates

Tracking Interest Rates


SEARCH BLOG: FEDERAL RESERVE for full versions... or use the Blog Archive pulldown menu.

February 3, 2006
Go back to 1999-2000 and see what the Fed did. They are following the same pattern for 2005-06. If it ain't broke, the Fed will fix it... and good!
August 29, 2006 The Federal Reserve always acts on old information... and is the only cause of U.S. recessions.
December 5, 2006 Last spring I wrote about what I saw to be a sharp downturn in the economy in the "rustbelt" states, particularly Michigan.
March 28, 2007
The Federal Reserve sees no need to cut interest rates in the light of adverse recent economic data, Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday.
The Fed chairman said ”to date, the incoming data have supported the view that the current stance of policy is likely to foster sustainable economic growth and a gradual ebbing in core inflation”.

July 21, 2007 My guess is that if there is an interest rate change, a cut is more likely than an increase. The key variables to be watching at this point are real estate prices and the inventory of unsold homes.
August 11, 2007 I suspect that within 6 months the Federal Reserve will be forced to lower interest rates before housing becomes a black hole.
September 11, 2007 It only means that the overall process has flaws guaranteeing it will be slow in responding to changes in the economy... and tend to over-react as a result.
September 18, 2007 I think a 4% rate is really what is needed to turn the economy back on the right course. The rate may not get there, but more cuts will be needed with employment rates down and foreclosure rates up.
October 25, 2007 How long will it be before I will be able to write: "The Federal Reserve lowered its lending rate to 4% in response to the collapse of the U.S. housing market and massive numbers of foreclosures that threaten the banking and mortgage sectors."
"Should the elevated turbulence persist, it would increase the possibility of further tightening in financial conditions for households and businesses," he said.

"Uncertainties about the economic outlook are unusually high right now," he said. "These uncertainties require flexible and pragmatic policymaking -- nimble is the adjective I used a few weeks ago."

December 11, 2007 Somehow the Fed misses the obvious.
[Image from:]
December 13, 2007 [from The Christian Science Monitor]
"The odds of a recession are now above 50 percent," says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's "We are right on the edge of a recession in part because of the Fed's reluctance to reduce interest rates more aggressively." [see my comments of September 11]
January 7, 2008 The real problem now is that consumers can't rescue the economy and manufacturing, which is already weakening, will continue to weaken. We've gutted the forces that could avoid a downturn. The question is not whether there will be a recession, but can it be dampened sufficiently so that it is very short.
January 11, 2008 This is death by a thousand cuts.
January 13, 2008 [N.Y. Times]
“The question is not whether we will have a recession, but how deep and prolonged it will be,” said David Rosenberg, the chief North American economist at Merrill Lynch. “Even if the Fed’s moves are going to work, it will not show up until the later part of 2008 or 2009.
January 17, 2008 A few days ago, Anna Schwartz, nonagenarian economist, implicated the Federal Reserve as the cause of the present lending crisis [from the Telegraph - UK]:
The high priestess of US monetarism - a revered figure at the Fed - says the central bank is itself the chief cause of the credit bubble, and now seems stunned as the consequences of its own actions engulf the financial system. "The new group at the Fed is not equal to the problem that faces it," she says, daring to utter a thought that fellow critics mostly utter sotto voce.
January 22, 2008 The cut has become infected and a limb is in danger. Ben Bernanke is panicking and the Fed has its emergency triage team cutting rates... this time by 3/4%. ...

What should the Federal Reserve do now? Step back... and don't be so anxious to raise rates at the first sign of economic improvement.
Individuals and businesses need stability in their financial cost structures so that they can plan effectively and keep their ships afloat. Wildly fluctuating rates... regardless of what the absolute levels are... create problems. Either too much spending or too much fear. It's just not that difficult to comprehend. Why has it been so difficult for the Fed?

About Me

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Michigan, United States
Air Force (SAC) captain 1968-72. Retired after 35 years of business and logistical planning, including running a small business. Two sons with advanced degrees; one with a business and pre-law degree. Beautiful wife who has put up with me for 4 decades. Education: B.A. (Sociology major; minors in philosopy, English literature, and German) M.S. Operations Management (like a mixture of an MBA with logistical planning)